10/31/2005 12:00AM

Play Ballado primed for Big A opener


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Aqueduct was home for two winners on last Saturday's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships program at Belmont Park. For the next six months, it will be home for the entire New York Racing Association circuit as racing shifts cross-town to the Big A beginning Wednesday and will stay here for the next six months.

Aqueduct's main track will be used for only 20 days before racing shifts to the winterized inner track on Nov. 30. Turf racing will continue as long as weather permits. First post is 12:30 p.m. daily with a few exceptions Thanksgiving weekend.

With NYRA hoping to start construction imminently on its video-lottery terminal facility on the second floor of Aqueduct's grandstand, fans will be limited to watching races from the clubhouse. Admission is $1, with an additional $1 charge for admission to the Skyline/Equestris on the third floor.

Aqueduct, where Richard Dutrow Jr. trained BC Classic winner Saint Liam and BC Sprint winner Silver Train, will conduct 16 stakes the next four weeks worth $2.2 million in purses, highlighted by the Grade 1, $350,000 Cigar Mile on Nov. 26. That race has been mentioned as a possible spot for Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Afleet Alex as well as Breeders' Cup Sprint runner-up Taste of Paradise. The $200,000 Remsen and $200,000 Demoiselle are also on that card.

The $65,000 Miss Oceana Stakes for 3-year-old fillies who have not won an open sweepstakes, highlights Wednesday's opening-day, nine-race program. The Miss Oceana is run at a mile around one turn, something trainer John Ward believes fits his filly, Play Ballado, perfectly.

is 2 for 3 with her wins coming by a average of 6 3/4 lengths. She won an entry-level allowance race going one mile at Belmont on Oct. 10 and earned a solid Beyer Speed Figure of 91 for the effort.

"Going a mile at Aqueduct you get to run out of that long chute and she should be able to use her long stride," Ward said. "I feel very confident in this spot. She's coming up to it really good."

Play Ballado worked five furlongs in 59 seconds, the best of 53 works at the distance on Friday. Edgar Prado, who won the Belmont riding title, has the call from post 8.

Play Ballado's only loss came when she was third behind Ever Elusive, whom she meets again here. Ever Elusive has been first or second in all four of her fast-track starts.